Why You Should Use Stumbleupon as a Marketing Tool

Why You Should Use Stumbleupon
Photo credit: Bernard Goldbach (Creative Commons)

Not everyone should use Stumbleupon.

For instance, if you’re a blogger who doesn’t really care about traffic, then you shouldn’t use Stumbleupon.

Or if you’re a business and don’t care about free advertising, then you shouldn’t use Stumbleupon.

Lastly, if you’re someone with something to say but don’t want anyone to listen, then you shouldn’t use Stumbleupon.

But if you don’t fit into any of those three categories, you should consider using Stumbleupon to find and share content online.

What is Stumbleupon?

Stumbleupon is two things, really:

  1. A social bookmarking site. Like Delicious, Instapaper, and Google Bookmarks, it allows you to save links to articles for later reference and share them. The “Stumble!” toolbar also allows you to randomly discover new articles, based on your interests.
  2. A social voting site. Similar to DIGG and Reddit, it allows you to vote for videos, blog posts, images, and articles you find on the Internet.

How to Use It

Using Stumbleupon is easy. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Go to stumbleupon.com.
  2. Sign up for free and share your interests.
  3. Download the “Stumble!” toolbar for your web browser.
  4. Start stumbling!

Not only is it fun, but SU can also be a powerful marketing tool. There are a lot of tips for using Stumbleupon to promote your content; here are just a few I’ve distilled from the web:

  1. Don’t just vote for yourself.
  2. Concentrate on quality.
  3. Make your avatar stand out.
  4. Write for above the scroll.
  5. Make friends with other Stumblers.

A Powerful Case Study

When I was editing an online magazine, hands down, the most-read article we ever published was a short, critical piece about a woman who stopped “playing church.” The article was a pointed piece about the pretentious attitudes of religious people, especially in so-called “sacred” buildings.

For months, the article hid in obscurity, collecting a couple hundred page views. Then, after I had read some convincing reasons to use StumbleUpon to increase web traffic, I started going through our archived articles and adding them on StumbleUpon.

Shortly after that, our daily traffic increased ten-fold. Thousands of people a day were hitting the article, commenting on it, and a fascinating discussion emerged. Within less than a week of doing this, the article had received over 20,000 page views. And it’s still going.

The culprit: StumbleUpon.

How Did It Happen?

I don’t have a clue. It was random, unpredictable, and magnificent. I tried to replicate again with another article and failed.

Nonetheless, I did some research and saw a trend — sites that utilize Stumbleupon and encourage their visitors to do the same see this kind of random, unpredictable, viral traffic on a much more frequent basis than those that don’t.

Objections to Using Stumbleupon

There are some understandable objections to using Stumbleupon, among which is that the traffic is harder to convert. That’s true.

You should take Stumbleupon traffic with a grain of salt, but don’t completely discount it as worthless, either. I’ve seen how it can convert into long-time readers and advocates and help make your content go viral.

Reasons to Use It: Why Not?

You have something to share — something to say, a cause to promote, an idea to spread. Whether it’s yours or someone else’s, you have a message.

But you need a tool to share it.

Why not tap into the viral power of StumbleUpon, which has produced more fruit for me than DIGG, Delicious, and Reddit combined?

It’s fun, free, and has a proven track record. Just use it wisely. Like anything social, if you focus on yourself, you’ll be disappointed.

Recommended reading: Use Social Media Arbitrage to Drive Traffic with Stumbleupon

Do you use Stumbleupon? Why or why not?

If you’re on SU, visit my Stumbleupon profile to connect and vote this article up, if you like it!

*Photo credit: Bernard Goldbach

64 thoughts on “Why You Should Use Stumbleupon as a Marketing Tool

  1. Interesting stuff. I use stumbleupon everynow and again. I do not utilize it to its full potential. I mostly use it when I am bored to find interesting things on the net…

  2. I was waiting for someone to write a stumbleupon post in this manor. It seemed a couple of weeks ago evernote was the thing to write about.
    Glad you tackled this one.

    I am still working on taming this beast that is stumbleupon and figuring out ways to get traffic from it.

    1. Would love to discuss with you over coffee some time, Kyle. The basic “rules” that I am learning (still a newbie, though) are this:

      -Engage the community
      -Vote for others
      -Create remarkable content
      -Occasionally ask for favors

      Basically, they’re the same rules as all things social media. There is no shortcut — you must be communal, and you must be patient.

  3. question: If my interests are different than the ones my blog would cater to, do I need to change my interests to match? Or is there a way to tag my own post with different things?

    1. No. Your interests are for your own personal browsing. Your blog can be about different topics (if I’m understanding you correctly). There are two ways to use stumbleupon: one way is to discover content, the second is to promote it. That latter is how you can use it as a marketing tool. But the former will help you build relationships.

    2. No. Your interests are for your own personal browsing. Your blog can be about different topics (if I’m understanding you correctly). There are two ways to use stumbleupon: one way is to discover content, the second is to promote it. That latter is how you can use it as a marketing tool. But the former will help you build relationships.

  4. So my only problem with stumbleupon is it’s not really good traffic.

    What I mean by this is that the traffic is ONLY good for those of us who are using advertising.

    On an older site of mine, I had numerous days of over 12,000 visitors JUST from Stumbleupon (back in the days when everyone used it) BUT the stats were terrible. They stayed for less than 10 seconds, never came for the conversation and NEVER clicked further than the one page they stumbled on.

    I honestly believe that there is good and bad traffic. This is right in between. Helps to impress your stats but accomplishes very little.

    It’s like throwing 2000 pennies into a pond trying to land one on a rock. Maybe two or three hit the rock, but the other, ehh not worth it.

    Just my two cents.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Matthew. As I said, there is some question about the quality of traffic, but I’ve personally experienced (as have others) the ability of SU to convert visitors into engaged community members. It may not work for everyone, though.

      1. I’d like to hear more about how you converted the visitors or what naturally led them to convert. I think StumbleUpon conversions might depend on the niche you’re in, because, like @16e026e63172e8de5ab95c84f2767015:disqus , I’ve gotten almost nothing but garbage traffic. Empty inflated numbers with no engagement.

    2. Thanks for the feedback, Matthew. As I said, there is some question about the quality of traffic, but I’ve personally experienced (as have others) the ability of SU to convert visitors into engaged community members. It may not work for everyone, though.

    3.  I tried advertising on StumbleUpon several years ago and I agree with you that the traffic was not of good quality.. the bounce rate was very high. So, I stopped using SU then. I just started using it again as an experiment to see how it works. The first time I tried it, I got a flood of visitors and some even started following me on twitter.. Lets see how it works this time around and this time I have made a decision NOT to advertise on StumbleUpon..

  5. Jeff, i love stumbled upon. p.s. i just stumbled this article on SU. I use it on my ecommerce site. And i once got so much traffic in one day that it blew my mind.

    You can advertise on SU too. It’s super cheap. I havn’t done it but it might be worth it to check it out as an experiment.

    🙂

    1. I tried advertising on SU and didn’t really see the benefit. If you’re thinking ads, I’d recommend Facebook ads. I did that for a while (for the nonprofit I work for) and consistently saw 10% conversion rates. They’re very affordable. Btw, what’s your SU URL?

    2. I tried advertising on SU and didn’t really see the benefit. If you’re thinking ads, I’d recommend Facebook ads. I did that for a while (for the nonprofit I work for) and consistently saw 10% conversion rates. They’re very affordable. Btw, what’s your SU URL?

  6. Hi Jeff, This is a great intro for the StumbleUpon newbie, as well as people like me, who haven’t set aside enough time to use it to its fullest potential. I promise, I’ll add it to the to-do list in my spiral notebook! 🙂

  7. What’s the little SU widget you use at the top of the page? Maybe I should be getting one. I have SU, but I never could figure it out, so I gave up.

    I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s just the fact that I didn’t like looking at random things on the web.

    But I’ll be friends with you on there. 🙂

  8. I absolutely use StumbleUpon and I get by far the most traffic from that site. I’ve found that my posts with the most provocative titles, relatively brief and to the point and have a great picture have gotten me the most traffic.

    I don’t always over-concentrate on my post titles and that’s probably to my own detriment. The most stumbles I’ve gotten on a post were about 1,500. When you get a post take off in SU, it really gives you a traffic spike.

    My bounce rate is pretty good too, so that makes me happy. Most people visit a couple of pages before taking off so I know it’s not just a 2 second look before hitting stumble again.

    I HIGHLY recommend using SU.

  9. When I like your blog post and it goes to my favorites, you have an awesome thumbnail. When I did the same for my blog post, there was no thumbnail. How do you fix this?

  10. Hmm. I’ve heard that stumblers react very negatively to people submitting their own pages, branding it as self-promotion (which is apparently bad). But you suggest that if you submit lots of other people’s content as well, then the su community might be more accepting of a little self-promotion now and then. If this is the case then I may have to give StumbledUpon another look.

  11. Wow, Jeff! I follow you on Twitter and you are constantly going…going…gone! Between all of your social media ventures, your foursquare haunts and your trips to public speaking conferences, how do you make time to write? BTW, did you meet up with Michael and Gail at your speaking engagement? Thanks for the info on stumbleupon, just one more thing to keep up with…ugh! My husband is going to miss me even more!

  12. Disclosure: you can blame  @tonyjalicea:disqus for directing me here, not StumbleUpon.

    The one thing keeping me from diving in to SU is the phrase, “download the toolbar.” That’s essentially a deal-breaker for me. For one thing, I’ve got a small monitor on my old, klunky PowerMac G4 (Sawtooth, for those who might want to donate for a new Mac pity me and the fact that I still like to go back to Classic for 1 game). Another toolbar is something I don’t need. Second, I’ve seen the toolbar on other people’s sites and/or links from SU. It’s annoying and slow! (See reference to “old, klunky…” above. Oh, did I mention the 450 MHz clock speed for the single processor?) Finally, did I mention the old hardware … you know, the kind that doesn’t take many modern downloads very well (as in “no longer supported”)?

  13. Hey Jeff…I rarely use images on my blog. This is mostly because it takes too much time. I would rather focus on the writing.  And, I’ve noticed that some of the most successful bloggers (i.e. Jon Acuff) don’t use images.  Am I kidding myself if I don’t use images and expect my traffic to grow? If I don’t use images, will StumbleUpon still be useful for me? 

    1. That’s a common critique, John. My solution: Try writing better content. Hope that doesn’t come off as dismissive. The other thing you could try is having an easy way to capture people’s emails so they come back later.

  14. Im not a blogger, not an english speaker, just a mexican guy that is starting to use SU and I like it. BTW  you guys have a lot of good sites keep going, some of you have very interesting stuff and a well written english. I alredy learn some idioms and terms from the bloggers questions and answers.  

  15. I tried StumbleUpon and got a little bit of traffic to my blog.. I was quite surprised to see StumbleUpon get me traffic when I barely had any followers on StumbleUpon. Now I am doing some research to figure out more about StumbleUpon..

  16. Fuck businesses and SEO marketers using stumble upon. You ruined it. It was supposed to be a portal to novel information and sites. You turned it into your own personal toilet. A big fuck you to all of you. I will enjoy watching you do to it what you do to all advertising methods by over saturating it with garbage to the point it loses all use.

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